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Old 01-02-2010, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
10,326 posts, read 17,129,589 times
Reputation: 5981
I have ADT and have never had an issue with them.

I am looking to upgrade my system and CPI has ads that make it look appealing.

However, after reading what others have written about CPI, I may give ADT a call FIRST to see about updating my current system. Has anyone had issues with ADT?

TIA, Vicki
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Old 01-02-2010, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
1,600 posts, read 3,258,257 times
Reputation: 2326
We have ADT at our house. We've been happy with the service, and when we've had periods of time when the alarm company lost track of our house (like then our cell radio died) we got letters, even a FedEx overnight one from them.

The contract nightmares others are describing sound horrific. You might look to see if you can sign up for alarm service through an affiliate relationship. For instance, ADT has a marketing deal with USAA (an awesome company if you're eligible -- they're our bank, mortgage provider and insurer) for alarm service. We were able to get a bit of a discount on the rate, but more importantly, the terms of service were much less onerous and we're not under any kind of multi-year contract.
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill
5 posts, read 17,449 times
Reputation: 17
Can anyone tell from research if ADT and CPI (EYE-dent-teee-fie yerself) are similarly priced; both require multi-year contracts? Does anyone know if both offer video monitoring? Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
10,326 posts, read 17,129,589 times
Reputation: 5981
My ADT system is 15 years old. I haven't had any problems except my keypad is somewhat worn out! I recently called ADT to upgrade my system. There is currently a "special" online but since I am not a first time customer, I can't take advantage of it. The guy who came to my house was nice enough but unfortunately, there isn't anything he can do. I'm a little ticked off...they will give a special to a new customer but nothing to a 15 year customer. Go figure.

I'll be calling CPI in the next week to determine if I'd be better off with them.

I hesitate to go with a local company as I'm not sure how well the monitoring is. At least with ADT, I know they have quite a few people that monitor 24/7.

Vicki
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:40 AM
 
184 posts, read 288,752 times
Reputation: 302
I was an Installer for CPI once...one of the worst jobs I ever had.
I don't want to violate the precious TOS so lets just say I was not impressed with them, nor how they treated the customers.

CPI uses DSC equipment, headquarted out of Toronto. It is not a "proprietary" system for CPI. DSC sells the units to a variety of mom and pop (and larger) "security" companies and they put their sticker on it.

It is not actually a "CPI" system.

All alarms work the same pretty much. Standard sales pitch is the whole "3 doors and a motion plus one keypad". Sometimes you can get an extra keypad thrown in, sometimes not. The profit factor is the monitoring. I can pick up a basic "CPI" (read DSC) system from ADI suppliers (or online) for about $80 - $120. This is the ENTIRE system you need for a home, minus the 3 door sensors ($5 each) and the one motion ($25)

Most DSC Panels, going from memory here, can take up to 6 or eight devices. You can also daisy chain more than one door together into one "zone" and some panels you can double the amount of devices using resistors.


Monitering in my opinion is a waste of time except for maybe Fire, or old folks alone at home. Not to mention a lot of folks are dumping the "land line" and Cellular Alarm service is expensive.

Usually the best deterrent is a sign out front stating you have a system even if you really don't.

Next best thing is a working system with NO monitering..something that goes off and scares the intruder (the bad guy doesn't know it's not monitered) or something to wake you up/alert neighbors.

Most Home break ins are "opportunistic" crimes, rarely professionals like on TV. If one of those types decides to hit your house, then a puny little "3 door and a motion" ADT/CPI system is not going to stop them.

I've broken into neighbors/friends homes before cause they left keys inside, and they were amazed I could do it WITHOUT setting off the armed alarm.

If you DO have a system in your house, I do reccommend setting it up as a local alarm though. I mean you have it, might as well use it.

Lastly, if you do have "dead" equipment that doesn't work it is simply a setting in the installer menu of the alarm. The only thing they should do is disable the "Dial out" in alarm mode. Not turn the whole thing off completely.

Back when I remembered the installer codes, I turned back on a bunch of CPI systems for friends so they would work as local alarms only.

Don't get suckered! Remember a burglar alarm going off is not a HIGH priority with the police...I've seen them take as long as 2 hours or more to investigate the call. plenty of time to get robbed or killed eh?

Just have good insurance for your stuff
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:37 AM
 
838 posts, read 1,051,909 times
Reputation: 649
Good post man. I have a Brinks system in my house and would like to use it locally - are you saying I need a special code to do so, and its something that brinks will charge me for?

Also, what kind of prices are people getting for monitoring? I refuse to sign up for multiyear service, and also refuse to pay for a landline monitoring service when its as easy as snip snip to disable. The cell service is $40+ a month...I cant believe a local company isnt offering this same service for dirt cheap to make an easy buck.
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:26 AM
 
184 posts, read 288,752 times
Reputation: 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by rory breaker View Post
Good post man. I have a Brinks system in my house and would like to use it locally - are you saying I need a special code to do so, and its something that brinks will charge me for?

Also, what kind of prices are people getting for monitoring? I refuse to sign up for multiyear service, and also refuse to pay for a land line monitoring service when its as easy as snip snip to disable. The cell service is $40+ a month...I cant believe a local company isnt offering this same service for dirt cheap to make an easy buck.
ANY system can be used as a local alarm. The "special code" is simply the installer code. The Installer code lets you into the "setup menu" at which point you can do all kinds of things. In these "menus" you can simply tell the "communicator" to turn off. So if there is an alarm it will not try and call anyone, just make noise.


If the alarm is set up correctly, the default code that comes with the system is changed, and CPI for example, changes the installer code to whatever 4 digit # they decide. Kinda unnerving when you think that most or all CPI or whomever companies use the same installer code for each alarm installed. Kinda cookie cutter isn't it.

An Alarm panel is simply a small computer panel, with limited function. There is the User code, i.e. your personal code, and there is the Installer code to get into programming. All Alarms have this.

On many panels, especially DSC, if you don't know the Installer code you can jumper connections inside the brown box and default the alarm back to Factory. You will lose all programming, but the installer code will revert back to "9999" or whatever. At which point you can reprogram the entire alarm to do whatever you want. you'll have to BTW, as this Wipes the entire thing clean and it will not know anything.



Say for example you have the "3 doors and a motion" package. So you arm the alarm, someone kicks in the front door. The Alarm panel will "seize" the phone line, even if you are talking on it, and then call the phone # that it was programmed to call i.e. the "monitoring station" and simply send a small piece of code to the monitor station computer that will simply say "zone 1" (or 2 or whatever door). This pops up on an operators computer. Per the database instructions they try to call whomever you told them was first and second on the call list. If no one answers they call the police, tell them they have an alarm zone tripped. But they have no idea why or if it is a real emergency.


Your info is put in the database when the alarm was installed. The installer called central station and TOLD the operator which "zone" was which door etc.

Unless you have the "2 way" talk feature CPI likes to pump (it's really not a big deal, and is old technology) there is NO WAY for the central station to know any more than "zone1". It could be a false alarm, you could be getting murdered, or it could be the cat. Again, unless they can hear you screaming over the 2 way "Help Help I'm being killed" then you can expect to have the police show up "when they can" and it is not in any way a priority. Maybe within the hour or so, unless chance puts them next door or something.


So yes, ALL alarms can be setup to either communicate or not. In the case of the CPI alarms I turned on for friends who bought houses with them installed already (and "turned off") it was just a matter of reprogramming. many still use them today.

I'll bet all of you with ADT and CPI alarms would be horrified to know that the Install Manuals and how to program the alarms is free on the internet if you look....I still have some DSC programming books out in the shop on a shelf probably somewhere. The programming book comes inside of EACH alarm kit. usually the installer takes them with him cause you as a user don't need them. You are left with the little operators book which is worthless for programming.



I personally, like i said, would never bother with a monitered alarm. You DONT GET WHAT YOU SEE ON TV! But then again, do you ever.

Ever thought about this one too? Your basic alarm has had one door at least programmed as an "entry/exit" and gives a delay. If I know where your valuables are, I can kick in the front door, dash to the cash, and dash right the heck back out while your alarm is still counting down the 30 seconds for you to put in your code.

I've had people even ask me when I did install to change the delay to 45 secor longer cause they were afraid it still wasn't enough time.

In order to ACTUALLY be secure, you need to pay, period. A good alarm, properly installed is WAY MORE than your "3 doors and a motion" BS. you see on TV. The most important security is to try and make your house undesirable to break in...usually an Alarm sign is sufficient.

BTW, at CPI they did NOT wear the fancy uniforms in the call center part when I was there in the late 90's. We installers did, but the phone folks were just like any other ordinary call center.

They have a GREAT breakroom though with snacks and fooseball lol....thats where your monitoring dollars go. It makes a great commercial for peace of mind when you the consumer think that everyone is in uniform and all professional...NOT! You're lucky if you even need to wear a company shirt if you work at a monitering station...you never have personal customer contact (face to face)

I could go on, but I won't....
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:31 AM
 
184 posts, read 288,752 times
Reputation: 302
And monitoring is monitoring

If it's $20 a month it's the same monitoring as the $50 a month. Sometime it is even farmed out. did you know there are companies that just monitor alarms systems and nothing else?? That they DON"T INSTALL, NOR SELL the equipment. They are simply a monitoring station, sometimes and often in another state altogether!!!!


I hated to see the customer get duped into paying an extra monthly fee for the "fire monitoring"

Ok, that means that one of the zones was hooked to a smoke detector etc.

when that zone goes off, it calls in, spits out code whatever. Monitoring agent sees it and per your data knows code "blank" means the smoke detector

So they are not doing, or monitoring anything "more" than they were before...but you get suckered into paying more because of the label "fire monitoring"

sorry
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:02 AM
 
838 posts, read 1,051,909 times
Reputation: 649
Keep it going man!

So if I have a Brinks alarm already wired, your suggestion would be to find the installer manual online, get the code (I assume most every installer just does 0000 or 1234 or 9999 or something easy) find out how to reprogram it, and set it up?

Im going to break out the user manual and see if its still active, they may have never turned off the local features.
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
8,274 posts, read 11,728,730 times
Reputation: 7266
Are there people who will do this for you? (And if so where do you find them?)

I have an ADT system that was put in when my house was built, all doors, first floor windows, and crawl space door, have sensors. I also have a motion sensor, and I assume fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are set up to tie in to the alarm as well. But .... when ADT came out when we bought the house, the moron they sent couldn't explain anything about their services, and on top of it suggested I'd have to pay another $500 - $800 to get the system hooked up properly given my circumstances. I said no thanks and he left. So I'm left with a system that's never been turned on, the wires in the alarm cabinet aren't even hooked up - all the "parts" are just lying in there.
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